Melting permafrost swamps to make Arctic soil more nutritious

Melting permafrost swamps to make Arctic soil more nutritious

January 20, 2023

The process, according to scientists, stimulates greening.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The greening of the Arctic will become larger thanks to a natural process – the deep melting of frozen swamps. The process stimulates the useful substances extraction from peat.

Peat ice samples analysis showed the concentration of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, cobalt and other elements 10-20 times higher than in the thawing layer of swamps, researchers from Tomsk State University write in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

The swamps melting is due to global warming. As a result, the released substances contribute to the growth of new plants in the Arctic. Research by scientists in this area is supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation.

“Until now, there was little data on what processes take place in the permafrost layer of peatlands. Studies have shown that the processes in it are more active than expected – due to the moisture of the smallest pores, which does not freeze even at low temperatures. Through these pores, carbon, micro- and macroelements are pulled up to the freezing front in autumn, where they accumulate, freezing, including in the form of easily hydrolysable organic compounds”, said Sergey Loiko, the research head, the Tomsk State University BioGeoKlim laboratory head.

Using computer simulations, the researchers calculated that in the next 100 years, the extraction of zinc, phosphorus, iron and cobalt will increase by 2–4 times. These substances promote plant growth.

Earlier we wrote that by 2025 there will be 140 permafrost monitoring stations in the Arctic, and a three-dimensional map of underwater permafrost will also be created in Russia.

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Text: Ekaterina Lyubimaya, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division’s press service

January 20, 2023

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